What are the chances Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone will exercise his right to escape his contract with the team by the middle of the week?
Unlikely, according to NFL sources.
Marrone’s deal, which runs through the 2015 season, contains an opt-out clause that’s in effect for three days after the end of the season, which came with Sunday’s victory against the New England Patriots.
When the coach was asked about the clause during his joint end-of-season news conference with Bills general manager Doug Whaley, Marrone said, “I do not discuss my contract and that’s my rule. I never have and never will.”
However, league sources familiar with the situation said the clause was included when the Bills hired Marrone in 2013 as a safeguard because of the prospect of the team being sold, which happened when Terry and Kim Pegula bought the franchise last October. If Marrone was unhappy with the new ownership, or anything else, he would be free to seek employment elsewhere after his second season at the helm.
The chances of that happening seem slim, league sources say. They say the more practical application of the three-day window is for Marrone’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, to talk with the Pegulas about a contract extension for his client and perhaps seek a pay raise and more control over the 53-man roster.
Sexton is using the strength of the Bills’ 9-7 finish, their best record in 10 years – and a three-game improvement over Marrone’s first season – as well as the fact that in the last two days head-coaching jobs opened with the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons. That’s in addition to the Oakland Raiders looking for a permanent replacement for interim coach Tony Sparano.
Right now, Whaley oversees the Bills’ 53-man roster, while Marrone is responsible for the 46 players in uniform on game day.